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CLOSED UNTIL 14 MARCH 2015
Not just a business banker, celeb chef Giorgio Locatelli’s “effortlessly chic” hideaway regularly crops up on Londoners’ special-occasion hit lists. “Expectations inevitably run pretty high”, notes one reader, but this place delivers impressively on all fronts. The reassuringly expensive daily menu reads winningly, from the understated mystery of a ‘summer salad’ to “exquisitely balanced” razor clam and tomato soup with fregola, superbly cooked calf’s liver with balsamic vinegar, Swiss chard, pine kernels and sultanas or steamed hake with braised fennel and sweet-and-sour sauce. Locatelli’s “absolutely incredible” pasta also engenders rave reviews. Elegant desserts follow traditional lines, but when there’s a cultural mash-up it’s likely to be deftly handled – witness Amalfi lemon Eton mess with lemon sorbet and Italian meringue. Details such as the opulent bread basket, “first-class service” and patrician Italian wine list add a final gloss to proceedings. Note the rather quaint bookings policy: via telephone only, during office hours
As expected, a roll call of some of Italy’s best producers, Locanda Locatelli has built real buying power in this deeply patriotic list. You can sample big hitters from the likes of Gaja or Antinori, but those in the know prefer to explore the many boutique labels on offer instead.
The unexpected death of Central London during the Olympics meant I could get in on an hour’s notice. That never usually happens here, where visits have to be planned weeks in advance...
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